Towards A Playful City

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TOWARDS A

PLAYFUL CITY



TOWARDS A PLAYFUL CITY


RESEARCH TEAM Asami Morita, Fabrication Coordinator Stephanie Lin, Landscape Designer Vicki Li, Landscape Designer Yun Shi, Landscape Designer ADVISORY COMMITTEE Julie Smith-Clementi, Creative Director Erin Gehle, Senior Director Jennifer Schab, Senior Director Samantha Harris, Senior Director Naseema Asif, Studio Director Gregory Kockanowski, Studio Director Elisa Read, Horticultural Specialist Justin Cua, Project Designer Tyler Collins, Designer

First published in 2019 by RIOS Š2019 Rios Clementi Hale Studios 3101 West Exposition Place Los Angeles, California 90018 www.rios.com All Rights Reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any manner without prior written permission of RIOS Book Design by Carissa Gerzeny Art Direction by Jessica Greenfield Illustrations by Yun Shi Main text and captions are set in Graphik, designed by Christian Schwartz. Titles are set in Berlin Sans, designed by David Berlow.


TOWARDS A PLAYFUL CITY

This research was funded by the 2018 RIOS Annual Research Initiative to investigate emerging ideas in design practice



OUR MISSION Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

01. WHAT IS PLAY?.......................................... 10 Timeline. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Playgrounds and Playfulness. . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

02. WHAT IS PLAYFUL DESIGN?....................... 32 Defining Play. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Biophilic Design.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

03. PROTOTYPES............................................ 38 Block Modules.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Concrete Pillows.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Interactive Wall Mural. . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Lollipops.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

04. A CASE STUDY: PLAYFUL EXPO LINE.......... 50 Expo Line Map.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Underpass. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Planting Buffer.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Wall.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Expo Map Study. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

05. FROM A PLAYFUL EXPO LINE TOWARDS A PLAYFUL LOS ANGELES................ 76 Living Streets Framework.. . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Proposed New Guidelines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Playful Model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82



“Play is older than culture, for culture, however inadequately defined, always presupposes human society, and animals have not waited for man to teach them their playing.� Johan Huizinga



Our Mission We believe a playful city is a sustainable city. Play is vital to human development and is a necessary fixture of daily life, existing between points A and B. We believe that qualities of playfulness should merit attention equal to that of sustainability in terms of urban design and development. A playful city can be envisioned as a system of spaces or open-ended moments that exist to support exploration and movement within urban life.

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CHAPTER 01

WHAT IS PLAY?


Play can occur almost anywhere and in any form given an imagination and a space for it to exist. From pre-historic times to the current day, play has been a ubiquitous and diverse activity, specific to time and place, societal values, and technology. It continues to evolve with new contents, changing from rural to urban, natural to synthetic, physical to virtual, over time.


SEED

The seeds of our modern view on play germinate during this period Archaeological and cross-cultural records supported the existence of dice, gaming sticks, gaming boards, and various forms of ball-play material made of stones, sticks, and bones from the Paleolithic Era.

Prehistoric Period

Ancient Greece & Rome

Medieval Period

Children were sent outside to play, either unsupervised or in the company of older children. The main activities were running, jumping, skipping, singing, dancing, hunting, fishing, catching birds, casting stones, climbing trees, wallwalking, and other balancing games. Children also played group games like hide-and-seek, blind man’s bluff, leapfrog, horses, piggy-back riding, vaulting, acrobatics, and wrestling.

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Plato (427 – 347 BC) advocated the use of free-play, gymnastics, music, and other various forms of leisure activity as means of developing skills for adult life. Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) emphasized the value of play and physical activities for the overall development of the child. Quintilian (35 – 97 AD) recommended the use of play as the earliest form of instruction.

EARLY MODERN PERIOD:

Renaissance: 1300s – 1600s

HUMANISM

Theories develop on global evolutionary explanations with a focus on the physical features of play Ideas such as developmentally appropriate education, play-based pedagogy, learning through first-hand experiences, the importance of vigorous play for healthy development, and adult participation in children’s play are clearly articulated by the thinkers and educators of these times.

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The places where children played in the U.S. had no equipment during this period. Empty rural fields and converted urban alleys were utilized, giving rise to the terms “sandlot” or “sand garden.”

LATE MODERN PERIOD

Industrial Revolution: 1760 – 1840 1700s

Scholars began the discussion and research of the role of play in human development and human society. In the 19th Century, developmental psychologists such as Friedrich Fröbel proposed playgrounds as a developmental aid to imbue children with a sense of fair play and good manners. Play was important for adults too as it was linked to creativity. These theories were known as “recreation” or “relaxation.”

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DISCOVERY

Theorists focused on the internal, emotional function of play In the late-modern era, proponents of early childhood education consisted in advocating and developing similar ideas that were generated during the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment.

1800s

1859: The first purpose-built publicaccess playground opened at a park in Manchester, England. 1878: Herbert Spencer made the connection between children’s play and that of animals, also drawing parallels between play and art. He viewed art as a product of surplus energy after basic human needs had been met. 1887: American’s first playground opened at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

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1901: Karl Groos saw play as a preparation for adulthood and a means by which children develop consciousness. 1903: Government-funded play. New York City installed Seward Park, the firstever municipal playground, complete with a slide and sand box. 1906: The Playground Association of America was founded in Boston, integrating the children of immigrants and providing all children with moral instruction.

1912: The Safety Backlash Begins. The first city to make playgrounds a priority was also the first implement regulations. New York banned climbing structures, citing them as too dangerous.

1914 – 1918

World War I

1910s

AUTOMOBILE

Play provides an outlet for instinctive behaviors 1908: G. Stanley Hall proposed human play progresses through all stages of evolutionary development. For instance, the animal stage of human development is repeated in children’s desire to climb and swing. Hall’s “recapitulation theory” rests on the notion that play provides an outlet for instinctive behaviors and lessens instinctual urges.

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1931: The first junk playgrounds were based on the ideas of Carl Theodor Sørensen, a Danish landscape architect, who noticed that children preferred to play everywhere but in the playgrounds that he designed. 1938: The behaviorists perspective on play conceptualize play as a learned response to a set of stimuli. Play was also considered a problem-solving behavior, because of its complex and investigative features.

1939 – 1945

World War II 1930s

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TELEVISION

Designed playground equipment The number of television sets in use rose from sixthousand in 1946 to roughly twelve million by 1951. By 1955, half of all U.S. homes had at least one television.

1950s – 60s: The Homogenization of Playgrounds

1950s

By the 1960s, play became a big business. Companies like Creative Playthings developed cookie-cutter playgrounds that could be sold in bulk.

1962: Jean Piaget was one of the first to shift the focus on play towards cognitive development. Piaget argued that play contributed to intellectual development through the processes of “accommodation” and “assimilation.” Assimilation is the dominant mode in play, achieved by children taking an idea and making it fit with what they already know and understand through play. Symbolic behavior develops with the emergence of symbolic play and abstract thinking.

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1965: The Demise of the Visionary Playground A groundbreaking children’s playground concept by Louis Kahn and Isamu Noguchi was rejected by New York City. Landscape Online describes it as: “The fullest evocation of a playground as an art form, an inviting creative play space that would provide not just interactivity, but beauty, solace, and a really nice place to sit for people of all ages.”

CONTEMPORARY

Post-War Urbanization 1960s

POSTMODERNISM

Play within social context In the mid-twentieth century, the cognitive role of play became a key feature of later approaches to play, influencing the development of services for young children. Play theory was consolidated, providing an overall holistic framework for child development within a social context. The significance of play within the developmental context was increasingly recognized. Today, from a developmental perspective, theorists draw on a rich range of theories and ideas from a variety of academic disciplines, enabling us to value play as a vital way of being in early childhood.

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COMPUTATION

Technology-driven digital games as an cognitively advanced form of play The first mass-produced personal computer was the Datapoint 2200 launched by Computer Terminal Corporation in 1971. By 2013, 84% of U.S. households own a computer.

INDIVIDUAL AND VIRTUAL PLAY

Digital Age 1970s

1978: The theories of Lev Vygotsky stress the mental representation of symbolic actions and objects as one of the key features of play. He believes play is the leading activity of childhood, as it supports all aspects of a child’s development. The ability to mentally represent experience, as happens during play, leads to the ability to think in abstract terms, one of the most important facets of human behavior. 1979: Corinne Hutt created a taxonomy of play, attempting to categorize play into different types. • Epistemic play — children learn and explore the world and its properties. • Ludic play — when children are using their imaginations but are not learning. • Games with rules — structured activities.

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1980s: Lawsuits and Government Guidelines. The 1980s brought piles of litigation from parents of children injured on playgrounds. In response, the industry began to closely follow safety standards by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

1997: Tina Bruce draws on chaos theory as a model for play. She argues that when play is most fruitful, it is in “freeflow.� This signifies children are solving problems and symbolically representing their experiences in ways that are highly creative, spontaneous, and of high intellectual order. This requires space, opportunity, and safety.

1980s

INTERNET

A social platform for competition and cooperative types of digital play Public commercial use of the Internet began in 1989. By 2013, 73% of U.S. households have a computer with a broadband connection to the Internet.

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SMARTPHONE

Play provides an outlet for instinctive behaviors. 1999: The Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo releases the first smartphones to achieve mass adoption within a country. By 2015, about 85% of adults ages 18 – 49 own a smartphone.

TECHNOLOGY

Post-Digital Age 2000s

2000: The LEGO Learning Institute study indicates many parents across the developed countries of the world have reported they do not have enough time to play with their children. 2006: Berk, Mann, and Ogan investigate how young children learn to cope with emotionally arousing or stressful events through the pretense or socio-dramatic play. The evidence indicates that children spontaneously engage in socio-dramatic pretense play relating to stressful or traumatic situations, and that this type of play can be very productively facilitated and supported by adults in therapeutic contexts with children who have been subjected to abuse or have experienced profound grief.

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2007: Chudakoff documented the sharp decline in children’s free play with other children across the Western world.

THE FUTURE

Next Generation of Play

Gaskins, Haight, and Lancy identify three general cultural perceptions that have a significant impact on the pattern of children’s play, as well as the level of involvement of their parents: • Culturally Curtailed Play • Culturally Accepted Play

2010: Lester and Russell conduct a major review of research examining children’s contemporary play opportunities worldwide. This compelling study revealed the environmental “stressors” in modern life, associated with increasing urbanization, which negatively impact children’s play experiences.

• Culturally Cultivated Play

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RENAISSANCE

Group games in open space with nature material and each other When looking at records of play in history, a series of historical images revealed the evolution of play in relation to urban and technological development. Inspired by painting of rural Holland from 1560, the Renaissance illustration depicts groups of children playing games with one another using simple toys like wooden hoops, sticks, logs, and clay bricks. This scene demonstrates the variety and nature of play that occurred in open streets with loose, ubiquitous materials and a social imagination.

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INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Exploring the modern city environment for play opportunities This image, influenced by a 1909 photograph of children playing in a Boston tenement alley by Lewis Wickes Hines, demonstrates children playing a game of baseball between two brick walls in what was referred to as the sand lot. Pennant flags, shirts, and washcloths hang on the clotheslines above. The children living in the neighborhood have re-imagined the materials and leftover spaces of the urban environment to create a vibrant, temporary play space of their own.

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POST-WAR URBANIZATION

Playground with designed play equipment and synthetic material With the process of urbanization and increased density of buildings in an emerging New York City, Central Park was clearly defined as a separate place for urban dwellers to move through. At first, children were encouraged to play throughout the entire park as bucolic backdrop to the emerging city. In 1942, the Children’s District became a designated enclosed play area with designed play equipment, made of welded steel.

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DIGITAL AGE

Play with anyone, anything, at anytime, anywhere The emergence of the video game in the Digital Age is another example of the evolution of play in which the emerging technology and urban environment formed into a relevant type of play. Nintendo released its first Mario Brothers game in 1983, a multi-player simulation with simple commands, “jump,” “run,” and “duck.” Players of video games interacted indoors, initially in corner stores throughout the neighborhood, and eventually, within individual homes using handheld devices. Looking at these examples of play throughout history reveals a close relationship between play, technology, and the development of cities in which the general tendency is to spatially isolate play in the city.

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CHAPTER 02

WHAT IS PLAYFUL DESIGN?

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A way of design that incorporates the spirit of playfulness and freedom, moves away from constraints, and produces joy as a necessity of daily life.

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PLAYFUL DESIGN

We see both a need and opportunity for contemporary forms of play in the city, allowing for more possibilities and a deeper connection to living systems. Typical play spaces, defined as playgrounds, originating from post WWII development are often made of synthetic materials and are fixed in the built environment. Typical playgrounds include prefabricated play structures with fall zones commonly located in public parks. These playgrounds are necessary, although they limit the scope and imagination of what play can be. Alternatively, we are prompted to explore new ways of describing play and play spaces as systems that incorporate natural qualities and are inclusive of more possibilities. This line of thinking is not new; various theories of play have been well documented and researched. For example, adventure playgrounds, nature playgrounds, loose parts play, and free play are all existing alternatives to the playground model.

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NATURAL

• plants

• water

• structured

• expected • prescribed

• mounds • branches • blocks

• steel

• surprise

• indeterminate

• movable

• flexible • free-flow

POSSIBILITY

IMPOSSIBILITY

• stone • wood

OPPORTUNITY FOR PLAY

• soil

• modular • loose parts

• fixed parts

• plastic • asphalt

• rubber mold

SYNTHETIC

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PLAYFUL DESIGN

Biophilic design, uniquely congruent with playful design, encourages a human connection to living systems Playful design as a contemporary framework can begin to draw from theories of biophilic design, where natural patterns and movement substantiate guidelines for spatial and material elements in the built environment. In this context, we frame playfulness in terms of wildness and indeterminacy to promote a contemporary understanding of play as an openended, imaginative, and experimental process that empower people to create their own physical, psychological, and social experiences. In this line of thinking, playful design may borrow from fundamental elements of biophilic design, including those shown in the photo grid at right.

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Indeterminate Possibilities

Incorporates Natural Materials

Experiments & Interactions

Biomorphic Forms & Patterns

A Connection with Nature

Non-Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli

A Sense of Mystery

Levels of Challenges

A Spirit of Wildness

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CHAPTER 03

PROTO TYPES

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With the underlying belief that play is simple and can exist wherever there is imagination and space, we generated four individual prototypes, each unique in character.

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OUR PROTOTYPES

We believe in creating playful moments in small-scale spaces where daily urban life occurs Each prototype was prompted by our approach to create playful moments in small-scale spaces where daily urban life occurs, and without designation limitations of a traditional playground. Using the framework set forth by biophilic design, we sought to incorporate the following elements into each exploration: indeterminate possibilities, natural materials, a spirit of wildness, biomorphic forms and patterns, a connection with nature, rhythmic sensory stimuli, a sense of mystery, and various levels of challenges.

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41


42


Prototype: Block Modules Blocks, being a classic example of an open-ended system of play, are scaled up with durable, lightweight materials so bypassers can create their own temporary spaces. The blocks maintain a simplicity that allows for users to project their own imagination onto them, in terms of form, pattern, and use, common in fort-building or obstacle course play. Users can engage with the geometries and colors to create novel patterns and arrangements. The size of the blocks are dimensioned for children ages five and up, and designed to encourage social play and teamwork without requiring it.

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Prototype: Concrete Pillows Lifelike characters are captured in a set of concrete pillow sculptures, offering a surprising element of softness and playfulness within a permanently durable fixture. The concrete pillows give off an animated quality to encourage playful movement and emotional engagement.

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Prototype: Interactive Wall Mural Wall-mounted panel modules create a durable, interactive surface with an open-ended call for play. Residents and Metro riders are encouraged to experiment with pixels that pop up or down to create temporary patterns that form an evermoving city mural.

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Prototype: Lollipops A field of simple sculptures are used to transform an underutilized open plaza into a playful space. The lollipops create an uneven gradient of vertical datums to create a sense of lightness and floating. The resulting space encourages time for openended play, curiosity, movement, and imagination. More importantly, the sculptures create an intentional sense of surprise and levity often unavailable in the built environment.

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CHAPTER 04

A CASE STUDY: PLAYFUL EXPO LINE

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Using the Los Angeles Metro’s Expo Line as a system of smallscale sites, we applied our prototypes to three site-specific conditions in a series of conceptual design studies situated in the following light rail typologies: the underpass, the planting buffer, and the wall.

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THE EXPO LINE

Between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica The Expo Line is uniquely positioned to advocate for a systemic approach to incorporating playful spaces in an increasingly dense, urban Los Angeles. The light-rail line is named after Exposition Boulevard, which it runs alongside for most of its route. The line is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and was built in two phases: the first phase comprised the 8.6 mile (13.8 km) section between Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City. Construction began in early 2006 and most stations opened to the public in 2016. The 6.6 mile (10.6 km) portion between Culver City and Santa Monica opened on May 20, 2016. Being an equitable connector of diverse neighborhoods in LA, the Expo Line is wellpositioned to support the needs of its adjacent communities, especially its youngest residents. In West Adams, for example, there is 0.4 park acres per 1,000 residents compared to the LA County average of 3.3 acres per 1,000 residents. According to the LA Parks and Recreation 2016 Needs Assessment, the majority of neighborhoods adjacent to the Expo Line has reached a “very high need� for quality public open space.

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7th St./Metro Center

DOWNTOWN L.A. HISTORIC SOUTHCENTRAL

Pico 23rd St. Jefferson/USC Expo/Vermont

UNIVERSITY PARK

EXPOSITION PARK

Expo Park/USC

JEFFERSON PARK

Expo/Western

Expo/La Brea

La Cienega/Jefferson

CULVER CITY CHEVIOT HILLS

Culver City

Westwood/Rancho Park

BALDWIN HILLS/ CRENSHAW

Farmdale

Palms

LEIMERT PARK

WEST ADAMS

Expo/Crenshaw

PALMS

Expo/Sepulveda

Expo/Bundy

SAWTELLE N

26th St./Bergamot 17th St./SMC Downtown Santa Monica

SANTA MONICA

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Underpass

Wall

Planting Buffer


Infrastructure Since transportation infrastructure often parallels urban density in the city, the design and integration of public spaces for livability and sustainability as part of that infrastructure is increasingly important. Transportation infrastructure may offer a harmonious armature to the idea of a playful city, one in which city dwellers have access to play as a ubiquitous experience. Play becomes a social experience that is carved out by the city itself, and on the other hand, play becomes a prototype to the evolution of sustainable cities.

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SITE-SPECIFIC CONDITIONS

The underpass shows a lack of graphic signage and dark areas with no place to sit In some cases, the underpass creates a barrier for pedestrians to safely move to and from neighborhood destinations, with a lack of adequate lighting, human-scaled materiality, and daily activity.

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DESIGN CONCEPT

A playful underpass with interactive media, graphics, lollipops, and concrete pillows In places where the underpass is designed as a station, there are additional opportunities for elements to promote ridership and connectivity. These might include neighborhood amenities such as seating, gathering space, enhanced lighting, and artistic expression.

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SITE-SPECIFIC CONDITIONS

Underused strip of land and poor connection to neighborhoods The planting buffer alongside the Expo Line is a valuable amenity to adjacent neighborhoods. Several areas could be improved to enhance its seasonal beauty and green infrastructure. The planting buffer could also provide ecological resources, shade, and cooling.

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DESIGN CONCEPT

A planting buffer to beautify the connection between neighborhoods and the Expo Line The planting buffer could provide more variety and engagement in social uses. For example, on a quiet neighborhood street, a wide, canopied planting buffer might be enhanced to provide a neighborhood pocket amenity in lieu of groundcover planting. Some small areas might be used to provide occupiable, communal space for momentary social gathering and in general, enhance neighborhood connectivity with new sidewalks, plants, seating, and play areas.

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SITE-SPECIFIC CONDITIONS

Infrastructural walls can create monumentally scaled barriers Different types of walls exist along the Expo Line to carry and separate the train from its adjacent neighborhoods. These infrastructural walls act as ramps, bridges, visual, and sound barriers, and range in size, scale, and material. In some cases, infrastructural walls can create monumentally scaled barriers and lack interaction and context within neighborhood nodes and passages.

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DESIGN CONCEPT

An interactive city mural that is shaped by residents and passerby The variation of infrastructural walls offers many unique opportunities for visual and social engagement, by way of becoming contextualized and co-opted to better serve adjacent communities. Our prototype exemplifies the creative installations which could convert the blank and unarticulated underpass walls to a lively work of art, supporting tactile interactions and artistic expressions. It aims to encourage visitors to create interesting arrangements of the pixel blocks and participate in the creation of public space and imagination.

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Racial Diversity Index 0.0

0.5

1.0

0.526%

Diversity The Expo Line runs through a number of diverse neighborhoods. The diversity index measures the probability that any two residents, chosen at random, would be of different ethnicities. If all residents are of the same ethnic group it’s zero. If half are from one group and half from another, it’s .50. The neighborhoods with a higher diversity index include Palms, Rancho Park, Sawtelle, Culver City, and Historic South-Central.

DOWNTOWN LA

CULVER CITY

SANTA MONICA

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Percentage Population by Age and Median Age 0%

50% 11%

35.8%

0% 12%

Age The number of children under age ten is the highest in the neighborhoods close to DTLA, including Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, West Adams, and Sawtelle. The number of people above age sixty-five is the highest in the neighborhoods between Expo/Western station to USC.

DOWNTOWN LA 39 39 23 23 23 23

26

38 28 28

36

39

CULVER CITY

31

36 35

34 38

SANTA MONICA

38

38

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Median Household Income $10,000

$50,000

$100,000

$57,925

Income Families earn less than $57,925 a year in neighborhoods including DTLA, Historic South-Central, University Park, Leimert Park, Jefferson Park, West Adams, and Baldin Hills/ Crenshaw. Neighborhoods with incomes higher than this number include Palms, Cheviot Hills, Rancho Park, and Sawtelle.

DOWNTOWN LA

CULVER CITY

SANTA MONICA

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Poverty Rate* 0%

50%

100%

18.6%

Poverty Communities below the median household income also have the highest poverty rates.

DOWNTOWN LA

*The percentage of population of whose median household income is $20,000 or less.

CULVER CITY

SANTA MONICA

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Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment* Highlighted neighborhoods have a crucial need for quality open space. In West Adams, for example, there are 0.4 park acres per 1,000 residents, compared to the county average of 3.3 park acres per 1,000 residents. *Mapping data based on the LA County Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment published in 2016.

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DOWNTOWN L.A. HISTORIC SOUTHCENTRAL

JEFFERSON PARK

EXPOSITION PARK

UNIVERSITY PARK

WEST ADAMS

BALDWIN HILLS/ CRENSHAW

LEIMERT PARK

CHEVIOT HILLS

CULVER LVE V CITY

PALMS

SAWTELLE

SANTA S NTA TA MO MONICA

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P la y ca n happen a n y w h e re ! JU M P ! R O L L! IN S ID E ! O U TS ID E !

WHERE? HOW? WHAT? TO PLAY

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Other options?

y g ro u n d s Ty p ica l p la t zones tha n e e d fa ll d la t o r y a n m e e t re g u e r ia sa fe t y c r it

P la y g ro u nds u su a ll y n e ed a lo t o f sp ace and mone y t o b u il d

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CHAPTER 05

FROM A PLAYFUL EXPO LINE TOWARDS A PLAYFUL LOS ANGELES 76


The Expo Line, as part of a larger vision toward equity and sustainability in Los Angeles, has adapted contemporary urban frameworks for green infrastructure, including the Living Streets Framework. We believe a category for Playful Streets is equally important.

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LIVING STREETS FRAMEWORK

We see a capacity for sustainability frameworks to include playfulness as a qualitative metric for assessment The Living Streets Framework outlines three areas of innovation: green streets, cool streets, and complete streets. Each area includes a variety of approaches and design interventions that have been conceptualized and demonstrated in major cities across the country, ranging from permeable pavement to parklets. Along with the belief that qualities of playfulness should merit attention equal to that of sustainability in terms of urban design and development, we believe that playful spaces merit the same level of investment and fit right into these existing frameworks.

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Elements

GREEN STREETS

COOL STREETS

Living Streets: A Guide for Los Angeles

Living Streets: A Guide for Los Angeles

NACTO: Urban Street Design Guide

NACTO: Urban Street Design Guide

City of LA: Green Infrastructure

City of LA: Green Infrastructure

Trees and Vegetative Cover

Trees and Vegetative Cover

Mulch

Cool Pavements

Planter Boxes Bioswales Curb-Cuts Sediment Traps

Benefits

Permeable Pavement

Funding

LIVING STREETS FRAMEWORK

Existing frameworks

Existing Guidelines

Stormwater Mitigation Pollutant Reduction / Conveyance

Urban Heat Island Reduction Lower Energy Consumption

Stormwater Recharge

Improved Air Quality

Evaporative Cooling

Reduction of Heat-Related Illness

Active Transportation Program Metro Call for Projects City of Los Angeles Proposition O: Clean Water Initiative


Proposed New Guidelines COMPLETE STREETS

PLAYFUL STREETS

Living Streets: A Guide for Los Angeles

L.A. Complete Streets Design Guide (Sect. 4.15, 4.6, and 7.9)

NACTO: Urban Street Design Guide L.A. Complete Streets Design Guide

City of LA: Complete Streets Manual (Sect. 9.7, 13.2)

City of LA: Complete Streets Manual

County of LA Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment

Median / Island

Interactive Play Elements

Traffic Calming Circle Raised Crosswalk

Environmental Graphic Design

On-Street Parking

Art Installation

Public Transit

Creative Lighting

Bicycle Lanes

Creative Urban Furnishing

Accessible Sidewalks Improved User Safety Increased Diversity of Users

Opportunity for Active Play and Learning

Public Amenities

Place-making

Enhanced Mobility

Public Amenities

Multi-modal Connectivity

Social Gathering and Engagement Enhanced Local Connectivity

CA Natural Resource Agency Environmental Enhancement & Mitigation Program Proposition 1: State Water Resources Control Board, Storm Water Grant Program Private Development of Public Benefit: City Green Building Ordinance, City Landscape Ordinance

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A Playful Start The prototypes we’ve mocked up in this proposal are only a starting point. They build upon others’ research and practice in adapting urban patterns through playful elements and spaces within the context of human development and living systems. The proposal for a playful Los Angeles is an invitation for community involvement in developing how playful spaces might be valued and implemented within the city’s urban fabric. We find that the Expo Line is a particularly appropriate system to experiment with because it reaches a diverse group of users and is a large part of daily life, particularly in communities with high populations of youth. We believe that through community engagement, prototyping, and the piloting of open-ended playful spaces, a sustainable city can be discovered while being built upon existing urban systems. We hope that through an on-going effort towards a playful Los Angeles, equitable opportunities for play are made easily available for people to discover in their daily lives.




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